The public transport system, especially buses and
minibuses, is not usually attempted by foreign
visitors, unless they have a good understanding of Mandarin Chinese.
Travel by metro or taxi is without
a doubt the easier option. Shanghai Municipal Public Transportation
Administration (tel: (21) 6323 2150) makes a good effort
of operating an integrated and comprehensive system, albeit overburdened
and striving to keep pace with the city’s breakneck expansion.
City buses (tel: (21) 1608 8160) operate 05:00-23:00
and can be frightfully crowded during rush hours (06:30-08:30 and
17:00-19:00), with consequent rudeness. Flat fares of RMB1
(up to RMB3 for air-conditioned buses) must be paid to the conductor.
Major city-centre routes are numbered – outlying and long-distance
buses only list their destination in characters. Minibuses
follow a few regular routes within the city and the flat
fare of RMB2 guarantees a seat. A limited suburban minibus
service is available with fares of RMB2.
Unlike the chaos of the bus network, Shanghai metro (operating
05:00-23:00) is clean, on-time, and easy to navigate. Three lines
are operating to date, with more being built.
Number 1 Line runs north–south
from Shanghai Railway Station to the southern suburb
Number 2 Line operates west–east
from Zhongshan Park to Longyang Lu in Pudong.
Pearl Line operates north–south
from Jiangwan Zhen in the north to Shanghai
South Station in the south.
have a red sign resembling an ‘M’. Tickets
cost RMB3 for trips of 13 stops and RMB4 for further. These can
be purchased from the ticket offices above the platforms or in books
of RMB90. There is no integrated travel card or saver ticket plan.
Signs and announcements in trains are in Mandarin Chinese as well
as English. Long-term plans for further development of the network
Even with the alarming metal cages enclosing the drivers, Shanghai
taxis are actually safe, reliable, plentiful,
and cheap. Taxis are metered and it is a good idea
to watch the meter carefully. Many fleet companies operate Shanghai
taxis, which are almost alwaysVolkswagens –
Santanas or Passats – manufactured
locally. Fares are usually RMB10 for the first two kilometres and
RMB2 each kilometre thereafter, rising to RMB13 and RMB2.6 per kilometre
in the evening (23:00-05:00). Maps and written addresses or business
cards are the best way for visitors to direct taxi drivers, as not
many speak English.
Taxis can be booked in advance from some of the major fleets, including
Friendship Taxi (tel: (21) 6258 4584) or Dazhong
Taxi (tel: (21) 6320 7207). Although not obligatory, a
tip of 10% of the final fare is appreciated.
The Shanghai Municipal Taxi Association (tel: (21)
6368 1055) can provide additional information.
Many major taxi fleets also run a limousine service. Dazhong
Taxi (tel: (21) 6320 7207) is a reputable supplier. Prices
start at around RMB600 per day for an Audi.
in the City
With the heavy presence of taxis in Shanghai, it doesn't make much
sense for a visitor to rent a car without good reason. Hiring
a driver is also advised, given the frantic traffic, the
Chinese road signs and the difficulties involved. Ownership of cars
is still not very common in Shanghai, however it is more common
here than just about anywhere else in China.There is a large number
of Bicycles and many accidents involve them – drivers should
remember this. Shanghai also has an extremely
high fatality rate per numbers of drivers, so extreme
caution when driving is required.
To rent a car, an International Driving Permit,
air ticket, passport and a credit
card to cover the large deposit are mandatory.
Shanghai Angel Car Rental (tel: (21)
6229 0858) is among the biggest local agencies, and has offices
at both airports. Dazhong (tel: (21) 6320 7207)
is another good company. In 2000, Hertz signed
an agreement with China National Auto Anhua to
operate jointly in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen, nevertheless,
the agency still advises foreign visitors to only hire a car with
a local driver. The normal hire rate starts at RMB320 per day.
Shanghai’s untiring self-improvement has still not made any
difference to its citizens’ reliance on bicycles,
which are everywhere – not leisure bicycles
but working, load-carrying machines. Given the chaotic state of
rush-hour traffic, this may be just as well, but, caution is recommended
when crossing the street or even on the pavement. A foreigner daring
to ride a bike in Shanghai likewise needs 360-degree vision and
lungs of iron as well as an official registration, applications
must be made at the main district police stations.
can be rented from the YMCA Bike Shop,
485 Yongjia Lu (tel: (21) 6472 9325), for RMB20 per day plus RMB100
deposit. Park bikes in the ubiquitous bike parks, as bicycle theft